Boris Johnson called for ‘leadership or a side’ move as more partygate claims surface

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Orris Johnson is facing increasing pressure to hold onto a drip feed of No. 10 rule-breaking revelations as he fights to stay in office.

Former Conservative minister Tobias Ellwood said the prime minister “should take the lead or step aside”, telling the BBC: “We need leadership.”

The remarks from the chairman of the Commons Defense Committee came as further claims of regular “Wine Time Friday” gatherings in Downing Street while coronavirus rules were in place.

The Mirror said the weekly schedules are a long-standing No. 10 tradition, including in previous administrations, and they continued even after COVID restrictions were imposed to restrict indoor mixing between households.

The newspaper said employees bought a £142 fridge to keep their wine bottles cold and the prime minister was aware of socializing.

A Number 10 spokesperson said: “An investigation is underway to establish the facts surrounding the nature of the gatherings, including attendance, setting and purpose, in terms of adherence to the guidance at the time.

“The findings will be made public in due course.”

Ministers have called on disgruntled Tory lawmakers to wait until senior civil servant Sue Gray publishes her investigation into the claims of lockdown-busting parties in the government.

Former Defense Minister Tobias Ellwood (UE Mok/PA) , PA Archive

But backbencher Andrew Bridghan said he “didn’t need to see what Sue Gray says, to me, Boris Johnson has lost the moral right to lead the country.”

The MP for North West Leicestershire confirmed he had submitted a letter of no-confidence to Mr Johnson’s leadership “some time ago”.

Only a handful of Tories have publicly announced that they had submitted letters to the 1922 Committee of Backbench MPs, but the Telegraph said that sources estimated that around 20 would have been handed over – although this would have triggered a vote of the leadership. Much less than the 54 required to do so.

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